Evangelical Christianity and conservative politics are today seen as inseparable. But when Jimmy Carter, a Democrat and a born-again Christian, won the presidency in 1976, he owed his victory in part to American evangelicals, who responded to his open religiosity and his rejection of the moral bankruptcy of the Nixon Administration. Carter, running as a representative of the New South, articulated a progressive strand of American Christianity that championed liberal ideals, racial equality, and social justice—one that has almost been forgotten since. In Redeemer, acclaimed religious historian Randall Balmer reveals how the rise and fall of Jimmy Carter's political fortunes mirrored the transformation of American religious politics. From his beginnings as a humble peanut farmer to the galvanizing politician who rode a reenergized religious movement into the White House, Carter's life and career mark him as the last great figure in America's long and venerable history of progressive evangelicalism. Although he stumbled early in his career—courting segregationists during his second campaign for Georgia governor—Carter's run for president marked a return to the progressive principles of his faith and helped reenergize the evangelical movement. Responding to his message of racial justice, women's rights, and concern for the plight of the poor, evangelicals across the country helped propel Carter to office. Yet four years later, those very same voters abandoned him for Ronald Reagan and the Republican Party. Carter's defeat signaled the eclipse of progressive evangelicalism and the rise of the Religious Right, which popularized a dramatically different understanding of the faith, one rooted in nationalism, individualism, and free-market capitalism. An illuminating biography of our 39th president, Redeemer presents Jimmy Carter as the last great standard-bearer of an important strand of American Christianity, and provides an original and riveting account of the moments that transformed our political landscape in the 1970s and 1980s.
With impressively clear prose and a superb command of history, best-selling author Randall Balmer offers a spirited history of evangelical Christianity in the United States. Effortlessly situating developments in evangelicalism in their wider historical context, he demonstrates the ways American social and cultural settings influenced the course of the evangelical tradition. By revealing the four key moments in the movements history, he ably demonstrates how American Evangelicalism is truly American. Concluding with a manifesto directing where evangelicalism must go from here, Balmer's The Making of Evangelicalism will interest every reader--evangelical, mainline, secular--who wants to better understand evangelicals today.
God in the White House explores the paradox of Americans' expectation that presidents should simultaneously trumpet their religious views and relationship to God while supporting the separation of church and state. Balmer tells the story of the politicization of religion in the last half of the twentieth century, as well as the "religionization" of our politics. He reflects on the implications of this shift, which have reverberated in both our religious and political worlds, and offers a new lens through which to see not only these extraordinary individuals, but also our current political situation.
Randall Balmer's Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory is an insightful and engaging journey into the world of American evangelicalism. Originally the basis for an award-winning PBS documentary, this timely new edition arrives just as recent elections have left an ever-growing number of secular Americans wondering exactly how the other half thinks. From Oregon to Florida, and from Texas to North Dakota, Balmer offers an immensely readable tour of the highways and byways of American evangelicalism. We visit a revival meeting in Florida, an Indian reservation in the Dakotas, a trade show for Christian booksellers, and a fundamentalist Bible camp in the Adirondacks.
© 2023 by SAMANTA JONES
In the summer of 1789, James Madison penned sixteen words in spare prose that became the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. Herein the founding fathers of a young government pledged separation of church and state, thus guaranteeing religious freedom for its citizens and establishing a free marketplace for religion in the United States. Utterly unprecedented in Western history, this construction of a government without the interlocking authority of religion set a new course for faith and politics and has produced a vibrant religious culture unmatched anywhere in the world.